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A Real Plan for DC Voting Rights and Home Rule

  • We believe that residents of the District of Columbia should have voting rights in the US Senate and House of Representatives equal to those of all other Americans.
  • We support Maryland-based solutions that provide full voting rights in the House and Senate and real home-rule for the residents of the District of Columbia.
  • Our two-part plan calls for Congress to restore the right of DC residents to vote as part of the Maryland electorate for congressional representation, and to support Washington becoming a new home-rule city in Maryland.

Contact Us

Committee for the Capital City
PO Box 77443
Washington, DC 20013-8443
John Forster, Letter to the Editor, unpublished, 12/07/04 PDF Print E-mail
The Washington Post
Letter to Editor, unpublished
December 7, 2004

By John Forster

Jonathan Turley, ["Right Goal, Wrong Means," Close to Home, 12/5/2004] is correct that the best way to solve the District of Columbia's voting rights problem is to reunite the city of Washington with the state of Maryland. Not only would DC residents gain voting rights in the House and Senate equal to all other Americans, but also as a home-rule city in Maryland, we would gain local control of our city and representation in the Maryland legislature. Being a part of Maryland could help our efforts to improve education, health care, public safety and a myriad of other local problems that no other city in the country attempts to solve by itself.

This proposed expansion of Maryland also brings many benefits to Maryland. In addition to gaining enough population to earn an additional congressional seat, Maryland would gain the economic and social benefits of having the nation's capital city within its borders. Washington DC has both a higher per-capita income than Maryland and a balanced budget. Incomes, sales, and real estate values are all rising sharply.

Congressman Ralph Regula (R-OH) has already introduced H.R. 381, the "District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act." For this bill to succeed, extensive fiscal and economic studies will be needed to determine the benefits to Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Congress. These studies should start immediately.

In the meantime, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has introduced H.R. 3709, the "District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2004." This bill would restore the federal voting rights of DC residents to participate in Maryland€s federal elections for House, Senate, and President. (Federal voting rights for DC residents were taken away by the Organic Act of 1801 and would be restored by the Rohrabacher bill.)

Unlike the proposal by Tom Davis (R-VA) that gives the District its own congressional district, the Rohrabacher bill creates a mostly DC congressional district apportioned as part of the Maryland delegation, preserving the requirement that congressional districts come from states. The residents of all other federal enclaves vote in the state from which their enclave came. And also unlike the Davis bill, the Rohrabacher bill provides Senate representation for DC residents. We do not need to create a class of "half-formed citizens" as Professor Turley rightfully objects; we need to solve the problem.

John Forster
Washington, DC